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From The Editor

Only 12 months ago we were discussing something called IS-95 and its progress in the US and Asia. Now we talk about cdmaOne, opportunities around the globe and a role in the third generation of mobile services.

Marketing has played a key role in a change of approach that has enabled cdmaOne to achieve a higher profile than many would have expected in a very short time. Then again, it needs to.

Marketing is, as our article on the subject makes clear, at least as important to success as technology. Not that the technology linked with cdmaOne is negligible. The extraordinary development of the enhanced variable rate coder and the speed to market of network rollouts across North America, both covered in this issue, are by no means negligible achievements.

But are they enough? As was mentioned at the CDMA World Congress in Singapore last year, a great product can’t always get by on its own presumed excellence, while a lousy one can sometimes succeed through clever marketing. Take a great product and a great marketing strategy and you have what cdmaOne hopes to achieve — coverage of all the bases. In the U.S., this appears to be just what is happening as the digital battle hots up.
Not every market is like the U.S., of course, but a good marketing strategy will assess each market and adapt accordingly — and it will have to do so quickly. The mobile communications world is, as we never tire of saying, moving at a terrific pace and it ill-behoves any of us to ask it to stop so that we can take a breath.

A number of countries want to do just that, however. Breathing space is required in countries like the former Soviet Union and Poland, where the
highly centralised and inefficient systems of the past have limited access to telecommunications. Or other countries, like many in sub-Saharan Africa, where it may be uneconomic to replace old, worn-out copper systems with fiber — let alone guarantee communications to less populated areas.
As our news pages have been showing recently, through Wireless Local Loop, cdmaOne has the opportunity to make an impact in countries such as these, proving itself a truly universal technology and not just one for the economic powerhouses of the U.S., Korea and Japan.

Which brings us back to marketing. Ad campaigns and press conferences are important, notably in the developed world. But being able to point to a country where there is no major market but a real need and say "we made a difference" is much simpler — and at least as effective.

Vaughan O’Grady